Newsletters Done Right
How can your organization publish a newsletter that will accomplish these core purposes and raise positive net revenue? Here are a few practical tips:
1. Recognize you’re not in the magazine- publishing business. A donor-focused newsletter should only be four to eight pages, no more.
2. Write for busy donors. You’re not publishing Time or National Geographic. Wri te at a fourth- or fifth-grade reading level to accommodate a quick read, just like most daily newspapers. Your educating, nurturing, affirming and reporting will be more effective if you connect to core emotions.
3. Tell stories. We learn from stories. We communicate values through stories. So, tell stories about the people you’ve helped, about the projects you’ve completed, about the changes you’ve prompted. Link your donors’ gifts to these stories.
4. Work hard to maintain a donor orientation. Ask yourself, “What do our donors want to know today?” Speak about their values and beliefs, and how your organization shares the same values and beliefs.
5. Work equally hard to resist the temptation to shift to an organization orientation. You’ll know you’ve succumbed to this temptation if your newsletter is filled with articles and photographs about your board of directors, your president, your building, your internal management structure or processes, or your work methodology. Most donors care very little about these internal matters; they want to know what you’ve done with their gifts to accomplish what you said you would accomplish. Period.
Donor-focused newsletters are a perfect vehicle for communicating the passion of your work, nurturing and affirming your donors’ passion for your work, telling your success stories, and raising more money.
Timothy Burgess is co-founder and senior strategist at direct-response fundraising firm Merkle/Domain. Contact: email@example.com.